No coffee connoisseur is immune to the dreaded coffee stain. If you love enjoying cups of coffee all day long, everywhere and anywhere, then you’ve probably run into a coffee spill or two—on the white carpet, or on your brand new shoes. We’ve been there.
But fear not! Coffee stains aren’t impossible to get rid of. You haven’t ruined your clothes, seats, carpet, or—gulp—boss’s desk chair when you were drinking a sticky salted caramel latte in her office (when you shouldn’t have been).
Check out our tips and tricks on how to remove coffee stains fast, easy, and effectively.
How to remove coffee stains from carpet and upholstery
You’ve dropped your cup (or… cups) on the carpet, or your cat knocked your coffee from your hand while lounging on the couch. What can you do to save your carpet or upholstered furniture?
When it comes to carpet stains, the faster you tackle them, the better.
- Blot up as much coffee liquid as you can from your carpet with paper towels or rags.
- Mix two cups of warm water with one tablespoon of dish soap, and one tablespoon of white vinegar.
- Using a clean, white cloth, blot the stain with the mixture. (Make sure the rag is clean and fresh, like a paper towel, to avoid color transference.)
- Repeat blotting until the stain is gone.
- With a fresh cloth, sponge with cold water to rinse.
- Blot your carpet dry with another fresh cloth.
How to remove coffee stains from cups
Do you (or someone in your household) leave coffee remnants in your mug for a little too long? Or, maybe your pesky roommate never cleans the coffee cups they’ve been borrowing from you for the past six months?
How do you get rid of those stains on the bottom or side of your favorite coffee cups?
Psst… This process also works for other porous surfaces, like countertops or tiles. If you have a coffee table (which is made for coffee spills, right?), you can try this out also.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your cup.
- Add just a splash of white vinegar. It will start bubbling up.
- Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Now, sprinkle a little more baking soda on the bottom with a bit of water to make a paste.
- Scrub with a sponge. This abrasion will help remove the coffee stains quickly and effectively.
- Rinse the mug with water, and wash as you normally would.
If that doesn’t work, we’ve also found that a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works well to remove coffee stains on smooth surfaces like cups and counters.
How to remove old coffee stains from clothes
Don’t you always seem to spill coffee on the day you’re wearing a white shirt or favorite sweater, or when you’re on your way to a big meeting? What can you do right now if you spilled your cold brew on your way to a job interview?
For immediate stain removal:
- If you tend to spill, you may want to keep a stain treatment on hand, like Shout wipes. These can help get rid of the majority of your stain, right after it happens.
- Salt! Run down to your office cafeteria, or stop at a restaurant nearby. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the stain. The more salt you have, the deeper it will penetrate the fabric. Let it sit for a few minutes, then gently rub away with a clean paper towel or cloth. This will help remove excess liquid, and prevent the stain from worsening or spreading.
- Don’t have salt? Baby powder works too.
When you get home, here’s how you care for your clothes to remove the rest of that deep-set stain.
For cotton clothing:
- First, blot the stain away. You want to pull up as much excess coffee as possible. Use a clean cloth in cool water to blot.
- You can use a stain remover like Shout wipes or Tide-To-Go stain pens, or you can sponge with cool water. You may also want to pre-treat with a prewash stain remover.
- Launder as usual. We recommend using a detergent with stain-fighting enzymes, which is especially useful if your coffee had milk, alternative milks, or sugar in it.
For synthetic fabrics:
- Blot the stain away with a clean cloth in cool water.
- Pre-soak the item in a solution of one quart warm water, half a teaspoon natural dishwashing detergent (not laundry detergent), and one tablespoon white vinegar.
- Rinse the garment with warm water.
- Use a sponge to blot the remaining stain.
- Rinse again in warm water.
- Launder as usual.
How to remove coffee stains from car seat
We know the coffee stains aren’t limited to your home and office. If you’re one of the java-enthusiasts that drinks cups of coffee on the road, you know the stress of spilling behind the wheel. You’re sipping your scrumptious summer drink in the car, hit a pothole, and your iced latte flies everywhere. Now you’re late to work, so you can’t stop to clean it up. You forget about it, and later, you see that your favorite coffee drink has betrayed you and left a stain. What do you do?
If possible, try to treat the stain as soon as possible. If you can pull over in a safe spot to care for the stain, do that. Or treat it as soon as you reach your destination.
- Soak up any excess liquid with a paper towel or rag. Blot, don’t wipe. Repeat until you’ve absorbed as much liquid as possible. (If the stain is old, there likely won’t be excess liquid as it would have dried—and stained.)
- Apply cool water to the stain using a fresh paper towel. Blot, holding the water on the stain for a few seconds. This helps pull out more of the coffee.
- Blot with another fresh, dry paper towel to remove the excess water and coffee that has been pulled out.
Now, you have options in how to treat the remainder of the stain. Dish soap or baking soda works well to treat a new stain. Apply a small amount of dish soap or baking soda on a paper towel with a small amount of cool water. Blot gently to create a lather on the surface. Leave the baking soda on the stain for up to 30 minutes to let it work into the stain. Rinse with a fresh paper towel. Repeat as necessary.
For leather car seats, we recommend a low or neutral pH dish soap. Only blot, don’t use a brush (this can wear down the seats). Baking soda works best on vinyl seats.
This is best for cloth seats that are light colored. You can also use a mixture of white vinegar and water. It should be about one-to-one, or more water to vinegar. Add a small squirt of dish soap, and apply to the coffee stain with a paper towel. You can also work it into the stain with a stiff-bristled brush, and let sit for 30 minutes.
Baby wipes may also help clean coffee stains, especially if they’re fresh. Keep baby wipes in the car for a quick picker-upper whenever you need it. Finish with a protectant or sealant. If you have leather or vinyl seats, you’ll want to finish with a leather conditioner. This ensures the stain doesn’t wear down the material, and it may help protect against stains in the future.
Check out CarBibles for more info on removing coffee stains from your car.
Let’s start sipping and spilling!
Now that you know how to remove coffee stains from virtually anything and everything, you can freely drink (and spill) your coffee wherever and whenever!
What’s your favorite coffee to sip and spill?
Want to try out our staffer’s current favorite? D-Shoppe Blend is a fan-favorite medium roast, with a nostalgic aroma that will transport you to American diners and cafes before you start your morning. For something a little stronger, try out our Havanero Espresso for a bold flavor with sweet undertones (perfect with your cream and sugar).